Tag Archives: liberal democrats

£1 million donation for Lib Dems helps party oppose Brexit

As a member of the Party’s Federal Board and Federal Finance and Resources Committee, I knew that the party were to receive a £1 million donation. We were not told who had donated it. We were told that we would only find out along with everyone else when it was published by the Electoral Commission – which it will be on Thursday. However, the FT has the inside track and has this story today:

The donation from Greg Nasmyth, whose family made its fortune from Argus Media, the energy information business, will be reported on Thursday when Electoral Commission figures are published. It comes as the Lib Dems gain momentum as an anti-Brexit party, committed to advocating a referendum on the terms of Britain’s departure from the EU. Mr Nasmyth is understood to have been motivated by the party’s position on the EU and also on green issues. He agreed the donation in July, soon after the Brexit vote. It was finally made in October in the run-up to the December by-election in Richmond Park, where the Lib Dem candidate ousted the Brexit-backing millionaire Zac Goldsmith.

Securing this donation is an excellent achievement by the Fundraising team at party HQ. They will need to bring in substantially more than this very generous donation if the party is to properly oppose Brexit. Labour are clearly not interested in standing in the Government’s way. The Liberal Democrats are unique in British politics – a UK wide party which opposes brexit in general and Theresa May’s Brexit Max in particular with every fibre of its being. We have a great message and talented and innovative campaigners. What we need are the resources to deliver that message to the people on an unprecedented scale for us. That is the challenge for party Treasurer Mike German and the fundraising team at HQ. 

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Brexit – it’s time to stop looking for someone to blame and take action!

Last Friday marked 8 months since I woke up in disbelief at the outcome of the EU referendum. That morning, I looked at my 3 month old daughter, and feared what the result could mean for the U.K in the short, medium and long term. Ever since that result, as events have unfolded, I have been lost as to whom I should direct my despair at:

  • Should it be David Cameron for calling the Referendum, which he did not believe in, purely to solve internal divisions in his own party?
  • Should it be the right wing press (such as the Daily Mail and Daily Express) for all of the years they have blamed the EU for all of the problems in the country, that were in fact the failings of a number of governments?
  • Should it be Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and the rest of Vote Leave for putting together a campaign full of lies, most notably that ridiculous bus claiming £350m a week for the NHS?
  • Should it be at the likes of Arron Banks and Nigel Farage for spreading xenophobia and having the hypocrisy to pretend they are men of the people?
  • Should it be at the 17m voters who were persuaded by their arguments?
  • Should it be at all those involved in planning the Stronger In campaign for failing to articulate why the UK hugely benefits from the EU and the Single Market? Rather than only focusing on a negative economic message that clearly did not get through.
  • Should it be at the BBC for being so concerned about being seen as balanced, they made the Brexit arguments seem credible!
  • Should it be at our unelected Prime Minister who is ignoring half of the population and claims to be able to read the minds of the other half! A Prime Minster who is setting off on a course to drive the economy over a cliff (notably ignoring a manifesto pledge to stay in the Single Market)?
  • Should it be at my own MP Jeremy Corbyn (who does not reply to my emails) and the rest of the Labour leadership for failing to provide any credible opposition whatsoever over the last 8 months?
  • Should it be at the arch Brexiteers like Iain Duncan Smith and Jacob Rees-Mogg who banged on about sovereignty but then decried when independent High Court and Supreme Court Judges upheld it?
  • Should it be at all those Labour and Conservative MPs who voted for the Article 50 bill in the full knowledge that it would be harmful to the country?
  • Should it be at myself for failing to get involved in progressive politics until I was 31, only joining the Lib Dems a few weeks before the Referendum (although I had been meaning to for years) and only getting properly active (outside of social media rants) in the last few weeks?

I have now realised that, although I still feel all of this despair is justified, just looking to blame any person or group for where we are is not going to help. Ranting on social media will do no good. As Tony Blair said recently, it’s time to rise up! 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 53 Comments

The first results in the party internal elections are in

As we have publicised a couple of times, a new round of party elections is taking place. The electorate is the Federal Board.

The following people have been elected unopposed:

Registered Treasurer & Chair of Federal Finance and Resources Committee:     Peter Dunphy

Party Treasurer:                                               Lord Mike German

Chair of Federal Campaigns and Elections Committee:                               James Gurling

Chair of Campaign for Gender Balance:                                             Candy Piercy

Vice Chair of Federal Board:                                               Neil Fawcett

Federal Board Rep on Federal International Relations …

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Liberal Democrat membership tops 80,000

Sal Brinton, the Lib Dem President, has announced that party membership has topped 80,000, with 1000 people joining the Liberal Democrats since Theresa May’s speech announcing that the Tories are going for the most extreme, hard Brexit that they can. 500 people have joined in the last 24 hours since Jeremy Corbyn signalled a 3-line whip for Labour MPs to vote for the triggering of Article 50.

Sal said:

The Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to this Conservative Brexit Government and it is great to welcome so many new members.

For those who oppose Theresa May’s plans to rip Britain out of

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Why Theresa May’s speech is good news

Theresa May’s speech today was a mixture of vacuous soundbites and ominous indicators of the direction of travel.  Shorn of the window-dressing, it is clear that she leads a government of the Hard Brexit.  She concluded with a nauseous section suggesting that the country is “coming together” after June’s referendum.  As one wag put it on Twitter, that is like setting a fire, burning the house down and expecting those who queried what you were doing to “come together” in the rebuilding project.  More seriously, by opting for a Hard Brexit, exiting the single market (ironically, an achievement of Margaret Thatcher) and almost certainly the customs union, she is demonstrating no respect for the 16 million people who voted Remain.

So, why do I think the speech is good news? The clue is today’s YouGov poll. This shows that the population currently splits as follows:

39%  – Hard Brexit

25% – Soft Brexit

23% – Remain in the EU after all

13% – Not sure

Pursuing a Soft Brexit would have been risky for May but not as risky as Hard Brexit.  For the first time, she has clearly put herself in backing a position supported only by a minority of voters.  This allows the divided Remain side to unite around opposition to the UK coming out of the single market (with much historic material from Dan Hannan and Boris Johnson to support them!).  It also allows them to peel off those Leavers who wanted to maintain single market access.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 69 Comments

Tim Farron announces new shadow cabinet

Tim Farron has announced his new Shadow Cabinet team, saying:

I am pleased to announce my new Shadow Cabinet team. Together we will provide the strong Liberal voice that Britain desperately needs to stand up to this Tory Brexit Government.

The Tories have no plans to protect the interests of the country in the wake of Brexit. Labour is in disarray. Only the Liberal Democrats can confront the Government and stand up for people’s jobs and livelihoods.

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Two ways we are addressing diversity

If there is one thing that we can all agree on is the need to encourage a greater degree of diversity within the party. Although our figures on diversity are far from where we want them to be, it is clear that we have begun to make some considerable strides towards adequately addressing this issue. There is an increasing recognition that if we are to herald ourselves as the defenders of equality and tolerance, then those values should be reflected within every aspect of our party. An important step towards this goal was the passing of two diversity and equality motions at Autumn Conference this year on Combatting Racism and Diversity Quotas, put forward by Pauline Pearce and Dawn Barnes respectively.

Summaries of both motions are outlined below:

Conference Motion Diversity Quotas

The motion has been put in place to increase the representation of those with protected characteristics on federal committees and bodies. The party will endeavor to ensure that:

  1. 40 % of those elected to a federal committee identify as men or non-binary, women or non-binary
  2. 10% shall be from minority backgrounds
  3. 10% shall be people from under-represented sexual orientations and gender identities including non-binary identities

Places on these bodies will be filled if the diversity requirements cannot be met or if an insufficient number of candidates with the required characteristic are nominated.

Both men and women will have an equal opportunity of participating at every level of the party in accordance with the Equality Act 2010, however the Act maybe amended to permit positive action to ensure that those from underrepresented groups are adequately represented within internal party bodies.

The full text of the motion is available here.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarChris Bertram 24th Mar - 12:04pm
    @Ian BB - encouraging, but that is a town council result rather than a principal authority, so we should be wary of reading too much...
  • User AvatarIain BB 24th Mar - 11:44am
    Lib Dem Gain Prescot North West with 32% swing Lab>LD. LD 68% (+30%) Lab 28% (-34%) Con 4% (+4%)
  • User Avatarnvelope2003 24th Mar - 11:37am
    Further to my comment, for the record I do not believe that IRA violence can be justified but unless it was to go on forever...
  • User AvatarJohn Barrett 24th Mar - 11:17am
    Unlike Ben, I am not convinced of the case for a second referendum and think that if Tim and the party hope to win over...
  • User Avatartheakes 24th Mar - 10:46am
    Great win in Somerset. Leominster, an area of Lib Dem/Liberal strength for many years, therefore we should ask some polite questions. I hope we will...
  • User AvatarGwyn Williams 24th Mar - 10:30am
    The Department for Exiting the EU needs to by an atlas. The UK and France are not the only European powers with nuclear weapons. Russia...